Super Bowl of Music: OTF Rocks N4N!

Excitement and anticipation are the best words to describe last Saturday’s morning in San Francisco. The always fabulous members of Off The Field Players’ Wives Association toured the Notes For Notes® Studio at the Don Fisher Clubhouse of Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco. Off the Field (OTF) is the national football player wives association comprised of talented and diverse wives of active and retired professional football players.

Notes for Notes (N4N) was thrilled a couple months earlier when OTF board members Ericka Lassiter and Romonda Jordan selected N4N as their Super Bowl community service organization. The Studio visit was the day before the Super Bowl, and it was the morning after OTF’s annual fund raising fashion show. Pre Super Bowl week is always a whirlwind of charitable activity for these powerhouse women.

On a personal level, I couldn’t wait to show off the N4N Studio, and especially the talent of the youth members. It was just last November that I myself toured the Detroit Notes For Notes Studio as an OTF member, and after that day I knew I had to become part of the Notes for Notes team and share this awesome program with my NFL wives’ friends.

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The highlight of the day was when N4N youth artist Dell performed two original songs while OTF members crowded around. By song’s end, there were tears, smiles and hugs to go around. These women were genuinely surprised and impressed by Dell’s level of talent and passion. Then a few of the wives just couldn’t help themselves. Up to the microphone they marched in the Notes for Notes state of the art recording studio to lay down vocals on a new and improved version of the NFL theme song.

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It was a productive and inspirational day. Notes for Notes is honored to have been chosen by OTF and very excited to work with their members throughout the country because “together we are stronger!”

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Shannon O’Toole
Notesfornotes.org

Off The Field Players’ Wives Association’s mission is to unite and empower our members to perform and support philanthropic initiatives that enhance the quality of life for families in our communities. To learn more, visit: offthefieldpwa.org

*Photo credit to renowned photographer and coach’s wife Cindy Zordich

More pictures can be found HERE.

Let the Sonic Adventure Begin!

Casio Watches!!! - NOTES_ATL
I used to have a Calculator watch, I got it for Christmas one year in elementary school (I swear NOT to cheat on math tests, although it probably would’ve helped because I’m horrible at math). I felt like sleuth Dick Tracy. No matter how you calculate it, those watches were cool and at 32 years old I’d still rather have one over a smartwatch… but now I see Casio in a whole different “back lit” light than I used to! Before I ever picked up a musical instrument that digital wrist computer was all I knew of the company that has NOW so generously outfitted Notes for Notes current (and upcoming studios) with incredible digital pianos and synthesizers. I’m sure there are teams of white coat scientists developing (and sporting calculator watches) Casio’s insanely beautiful sounding instruments but I’m fortunate enough to know the wonderful people behind this company that believe with a passion the importance of creating more musicians in and for this world.

A little trip in the way back machine…As a youth I wanted to compose film scores but without the ability to read music I was left behind in traditional music education. If all I knew I needed was a digital piano or synthesizer like the PX-5S and XW-G1 to explore creating all sort of synthesized sound by ear I might have been on a whole different path. Alas, while that was not the trajectory of my musical path it does explain a bit about the “why” of Notes for Notes. The power of a synthesizer holds a place in my heart because hopefully the youth we (and Casio) serve with this gear just may find something that unlocks their passion to explore music further. The sounds these instruments create will be that of dreams (literally and figuratively- what is the sound of a dream, hmmmm?) A young person can step up to these instruments and just explore a universe of sounds. Just as an astronomer has a telescope, our musicians have a synthesizer. Let the sonic adventure begin!

Now, it was the summer of ’12 in Nashville, TN: Summer NAMM! I was lucky enough to connect with some wonderful people from Casio’s Musical Instrument division who were our first advocates helping get CTK7000s into every one of our studios at the time. Fast forward to 2015, Notes for Notes biggest year of growth to date with 8 studios slated to open around the country all boasting the latest and loudest Casio digital pianos and synthesizers. On track, we’ve opened the first 5 in San Francisco, Brooklyn, Ventura, Atlanta, and Detroit with Austin, Cleveland, and San Diego on the way. It is with great pleasure that every Notes for Notes Studio is equipped with a Casio offering youth, who may not even know they are musicians yet, the opportunity to explore sonic universes for the very first time.
Playing the Casio - NOTES_ATL

In the sweltering Atlanta heat on July 18, 2015, Notes for Notes had the coolest place in town: The new Notes for Notes Studio at the Joseph B. Whitehead Boys & Girls Club! On this day we were honored to welcome award winning country artist Hunter Hayes to open the studio with the rocking of the first song. Now that the studio was open it was #TimeToRock and thanks to Casio we had the instruments AND the time. We were honored to present Vice-President of Casio’s Music Instrument Division, Stephen Schmidt with a Diamond Record for their continued support and in turn he presented some of the next generation of musicians (and Dick Tracy’s) with some calculator watches.

In August, we triumphantly opened (after nearly 3 years in development) our first Detroit Studio in a wonderful partnership with Mitch Albom and his S.A.Y Detroit Play Center. Christening the studio, in addition to a community of wonderful supporters locally and nationally, was country artist (and Michigan native) Frankie Ballard who shared his energy, stories, and music with the next generation of hit makers. The new Detroit studio boasts some incredible and unique resources unlike any other Notes for Notes Studio such as the Kid Rock Wall and Mojo in the Morning Broadcast Station BUT it of course has all the staples including guitars, drums, DJ gear, full studio… and Casio keyboards. Check out the virtual tour of this new space!
Casio NFN (1 of 1)

At Notes for Notes Studios in San Francisco might be the next Ron “Pigpen” Mckernan; in Brooklyn the next Billy Joel; in Ventura the next Sara Bareilles; in Atlanta the next Jermaine Dupri; in Detroit the next Steve Wonder; but one thing is for sure there would not be a musical future for any of our members without the generous support and passion for sound of Casio!

Motor City Studio Opens!

Three years in the making, Notes for Notes® is beyond ecstatic to finally open our first Detroit Studio. On August 12th, 2015 we welcomed country artist (and Michigan native) Frankie Ballard along with lead sponsors CMA Foundation, Hot Topic, Chevrolet, Knight Foundation, Music Rising, Kid Rock Foundation, and Piston’s Come Together Foundation to help us open the new location in Motor City. This is a very special studio in so many ways that has inspired so many wonderful relationships. Our first studio outside of a Boys & Girls Club, we are honored to be inside the S.A.Y Detroit Play Center (in the former Lipke Rec Center) in partnership with Mitch Albom. Their mission for the entire facility is one of true change by addressing areas of positive development from education to athletics to expression and we are proud to be a part of the upward movement of this facility and in the city.

Detroit has been a journey to open but now the real journey begins making music with the next generation of hitmakers. We are so grateful to have the support of so many local and national supporters who share our vision like the CMA Foundation, Hot Topic Foundation, Chevrolet, Knight Foundation, Music Rising, Kid Rock Foundation, Piston’s Come Together Foundation, Schuster Homes, John & Julie Ligon, Mojo in the Morning, Craig Myers, Dr. Tom & Lisa Perkins, and LuLu Lemon. The Studio is equipped with some of the finest instruments and equipment thanks to Presonus, Gibson, DW Drums, Native Instruments, Audio Technica, Casio, Line 6, Stanton, GIK, Third Man Records, Kala, Reverand Guitars, Focusrite, Roland, Akai, and Ladner Amps! Take a (virtual) tour of the studio below:



The opening of the Detroit Studio is only the beginning and we invite you to follow the stories and music that are sure to come from one of the most iconic music cities in the country. Motor on!

 

Hunter Hayes Opens the Atlanta Studio

Notes for Notes® Studio Atlanta marked the 10th Studio (4th in 2015) opened! There to open this exciting new location at the Joseph B Whitehead Boys & Girls Club in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta supported by the CMA Foundation was award winning country artist Hunter Hayes.  Atlanta is an exciting location for us considering the rich musical history and diversity of genres in the city’s roots. From hip-hop to country we are thrilled to be a part of producing Atlanta’s next generation of great musicians and producers.

Hunter Hayes is a consummate performer AND perfect spokesperson for the difference music makes starting at a young age… plus he plays more than 30 instruments! Typically we open a new Notes for Notes Studio with the strumming of the first guitar but thanks to Hunter we opened with the first song. Check out some clips below from the opening! We couldn’t be more thrilled and honored to open the studio with Hunter and the CMA Foundation’s support. We also welcome Hunter to our Advisory Board.

Our studios are packed with a variety of instruments, one of these being synthesizers, and thanks to Casio we have some of the best! We were also honored to welcome Stephen Schmidt (Vice President of Musical Instruments, Casio America) to present Casio with a Diamond Record for their overwhelmingly generous support of Notes for Notes with top of the line synthesizers and digital pianos in all our upcoming studios. Stephen was also on hand to present some aspiring young musicians with another instrument… the calculator watch. Can you say #timetorock!

Notes for Notes® Partners with Empire

Notes for Notes® partners with Fox’s hit show Empire for Fox Presents Empire Behind the Beat to open the organization’s first Notes for Notes Studio in Chicago. The Windy City plays host to Empire’s filming locations but is undoubtedly one of the countries most iconic music towns and Notes for Notes is thrilled to expand to this great city in 2016. Lots of exciting news to follow on this partnership, read some of the Buzz now! Get Behind the Beat and DONATE now!

Ventura Notes for Notes Studio

Notes for Notes is excited to announce its new studio in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Ventura to be located at the Olive Street Branch. Construction is currently underway and slated to be completed in the coming weeks with a soft opening to droves of excited youth in mid to late March 2015.

This exciting new location has been made possible by the generous support and collaboration of the Notes for Notes’ Venture Group comprised of dedicated community members who have stepped up to bring the organization to Ventura.

If you weren’t already excited, then wait till you see the renderings of the space below.

Stay tuned for an announcement of the Grand Opening event to come…

To make a donation to the Ventura Notes for Notes Studio please CLICK HERE

 

So let me tell you a story…

So let me tell you a story… first. Actually it is a fact; our Detroit Relations team of one, Kristin Myers is A) and amazing person and B) solely responsible for our perpetual forward direction in the great city. If it were not for her we would not have found the incredible opportunity with Mitch Albom to put a Notes for Notes® Studio in the new S.A.Y Detroit Play Center.  Kristin, we are honored that you are a part of the team and forever grateful of your zeal and persistence in this journey! Now I pass this blog off to you…

Phil
CEO/ Co-Founder 

 

So let me tell you a story…

Fifteen years ago I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in urban education. While the 2 + 2 component of my job didn’t necessarily excite me, I fell in love with my role as a mentor. My favorite students were the most troubled kids. At the age of ten they were already labeled. I embraced the challenge of gaining their trust and acceptance. I made it my mission to build their self-esteem, which in turn built their desire to rise above those negative labels.

I left the classroom to raise my own three children, which was a job in itself. We had identical twin daughters when our son was just 25 months old. Our house was chaos and I worked hard to maintain my composure and set good examples.

In 2011, my husband invited me to attend the movie premier of Mitch Albom’s Have a Little Faith. Craig saw it as a good networking opportunity for his business. I saw it as an opportunity to meet my very favorite writer, Mitch Albom. His work had never failed to inspire me.

That night I met an adorable young blonde named Kelly. Both of our respective men were off mingling elsewhere while we stood waiting patiently. We struck up a conversation that was easy and real. Eventually our dates returned. I introduced her to Craig, and she introduced me to Matthew Stafford – professional Quarterback of the Detroit Lions. She was delightful all on her own, and meeting him was a bonus.

I was getting restless at home. The kids no longer needed me as much and I was getting bored with my role as a housewife. I knew I needed another challenge, but was feeling lost – I couldn’t find any real direction. I considered going back to school to get my counseling degree since that was what I loved most about teaching, but couldn’t imagine going back to such structured hours since I had become accustomed to a flexible schedule. I decided to keep my ears open and started putting feelers out. I trusted that if I paid close enough attention, my next job would find me.

And that’s exactly what happened.

Last February, I got a phone call from a friend. “There’s something coming to Detroit and I think you’re going to want in on it.”

“What is it?” I asked.

“Kids and music,” he said, knowing that I speak kids fluently and love music completely. That was all it took. A few weeks later I was on the phone with Phil Gilley, CEO and Co-Founder of Notes for Notes: a non-profit organization that builds, equips, and staffs after-school recording studios packed with guitars, drums, keys/synths, DJ gear, digital music stations and full recording studios offering youth completely FREE access to explore, create, and record music.

After learning about the program and seeing a Nashville Notes for Notes studio in action, I was all in. So back to work I went inspired to make a difference yet again, only this time the stakes were higher. It was now my job to impact our small, but mighty, not-for-profit organization; to aid in the comeback of a beast of a city known as Detroit; and to help young artists in the D discover their musical talents and pursue their dreams.

I’ve worked hard for the past year with Notes for Notes, and today it paid off as I sat in the audience of my first PRESS CONFERENCE:

  • A press conference led by Mitch Albom, my favorite writer.
  • A press conference made possible by the generous Million Dollar donation of Matthew Stafford, professional Quarterback of the Detroit Lions, and his now fiancé Kelly Hall.
  • A press conference to announce a 10 Million Dollar revitalization plan to re-open The Lipke Community Center in Detroit with the additions of new educational programming, a series of outdoor athletic fields and an indoor practice facility.
  • A press conference full of eager and hopeful youth who are thrilled to have a safe place to go after school as opposed to the dangerous streets of Detroit.

And…

  •  A press conference to announce the first home of a Notes for Notes Studio in Detroit for kids who are definitely hoping for more rap and hip-hop than country, but told me they’d take whatever they could get

Once again I root for the underdogs – a community of kids in need of positive relationships. This time I’m surrounded by some of the most amazing leaders in the city, including Mayor Duggan. Mitch Albom’s announcement of the Notes for Notes partnership was full of respect and enthusiastic excitement – the same excitement we feel about partnering with him and Matthew Stafford. It was an amazing full-circle moment that I’ll never forget.

I now have a new direction and full credit goes to Notes for Notes – an organization so incredible that I have no choice but to work hard and have a little faith.

Kristin Myers
Detroit Relations

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This Detroit Hat

I almost titled this blog something a little more poetic like “This OLD Detroit Hat” which just seams to conjure up something about the city; a tattered Tigers hat peeling apart thread by thread, the embroidered logo stained with rusty sweat, and faded to a color less than royal. However, my Tigers hat is actually brand new, picked it up about 6 months ago on one of my trips to Motor City to continue pushing on the development of our studio there. This Detroit hat has been the source of more conversations than I dare say any hat I’ve had. That’s underselling it though, this hat causes strangers to engage me first about the Tigers (which I’m going to have to learn more about) and then the city. I can be in the supermarket in Nashville, a country store in Vermont or a security line at Logan airport and this hat will nod to the city for me. Now without testing this I bet I would get just as many comments on the cap if it were aged, however, it’s actually fitting that this hat is brand spanking new. Why? Because that’s the kind of energy and growth going on in that city right now and I want to be a part of it and in our own small way we are.

Now each time I talk about Notes for Notes’ expansion to Motown I get a universal response along the lines of “Oh yeah! They need it there” and when I mention I’m also moving there (with my fiance and dog too) to make sure the launch is successful and I get another universal response, “Really?” Why are we moving to this tattered cap of a city? Because still under every hat is a person who deserves a chance to better themselves. While Detroit may be worse off than many cities it is not alone in its need for an infusion of opportunities for young people. However, this city is experiencing an incredible renaissance and we are chomping at the bit to “make some noise” in our own small way by providing youth with FREE access to explore, create, and record music. Notes for Notes is anything but limited to hat wearing youth. As in every city we are in our studios become common ground for any young person to explore music in and together. I can already feel the talent that exists musically in the youth of this city and can’t wait to get this studio open to capture, enhance and inspire it further.

While not every young person will follow in the footsteps of this city’s musical icons such as Berry Gordy, Diana Ross, Eminem, Kid Rock, Bob Seger, Smokey Robinson, Jack White, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Stevie Wonder, Alice Cooper… And the list goes on: they will discover opportunities in and through music that will empower them as individuals to see a future ahead of them. Despite the challenges we have faced and continue to we remain incredibly optimistic about our work to come in this city of constant hope… the beat goes on! For every news story you see about Detroit’s plight there is another story about a new business launching or a grass roots movement to revitalize. Now don’t get me wrong there are some extremely disturbing, borderline post apocalyptic areas that should be flagged on GPS directions. In Detroit, the quickest route on Google maps isn’t always the safest. In the two years since we made the first reconnaissance mission to scope out a location for a studio, one can feel the perception of the city changing from within. It’s not due to us but to the incredible pride Detroiters have for their city. Why does anyone keep an old hat? Because you love the heck out it, you wore it everyday, and often times it became your identity (think of some hat wearers!) There are some amazing folks doing amazing work in and for this city that we have met through this adventure that perhaps we would not have had it not been so challenging. So while in the moment the daunting pace of this project has been trying to the nerves it has brought us to some of these folks like Phil Cooley, Mitch Albom, Craig and Kristin Myers, John and Julie Ligon, Kid Rock, Hot Topic Foundation, CMA Foundation, the Knight Foundation, the team at Paxahau, oh… And Chevy! In every challenge lies opportunity and Detroit is the embodiment of this. Every one of these individuals and organizations is focusing on changing their corner of the world and by doing so are making the whole world a better place. Detroit will not and can not change overnight but with energy moving in the right direction there is a great future ahead and for that I take my cap off to you Detroit.

2015 is shaping up to be a huge year for Notes for Notes and we are excited to announce that the first Motor City Notes for Notes studio will be in partnership with Mitch Albom in the new S.A.Y Detroit center coming in late spring/ early summer; check out the PRESS RELEASE. And, in case you missed it on the CMA awards, HERE is the announcement of CMA and Chevrolet’s support of the Detroit Studio. Thank you to everyone who has supported and continues to support our expansion to Detroit. This is FINALLY the year, “just watch”!

CMA Foundation & Chevrolet help Notes for Notes Scale Nationally

Notes for Notes® is honored to have the support of CMA and the CMA Foundation to open 5 new studios in San Francisco, NYC, Detroit, Atlanta, and Austin. We are lucky to also announce that Chevrolet has also made a generous contribution towards our upcoming Detroit location to open in 2015. To read the full press release on this exciting news please HEREMAP Y1

Notes for Notes® Studio #6- Los Angeles

Notes for Notes® announces the opening of our 6th Studio in partnership with the WSGV Boys & Girls Club in Los Angeles, CA on 10/27. This new location marks the 5th studio Notes for Notes has opened with the support of the Hot Topic Foundation.

Come visit our newest studio at:
West San Gabriel Valley Boys & Girls Club
328 S Ramona Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91754

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